/Tech Debt

The 25 Percent Rule For Tackling Technical Debt

- John DeWyze tl;dr: rom Shopify’s engineering team, 25% of time is divided amongst 3 types of tech debt: (1) Daily Debt: engineers spend 10% - 4 hours a week - if they want to “tidy” or improve code in any area they encounter. (2) Weekly Debt: 10% - 4 hours a week - is spent on tech debt that can be solved by adding a card or issue to a sprint. (3) Monthly and Yearly debt: 5% - or two hour long meetings a week - is spent on future planning.

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A Framework For Prioritizing Tech Debt

- Max Countryman tl;dr: "Now with a complete list of your tech debt as it stands go through each and answer the following questions: (1) If we choose to do nothing, will this issue become worse, remain the same, or improve? (2) If it'll become worse, how quickly will it degrade? (3) If it remains the same, how much disruption is it causing today? (4) If it'll improve, at what point will it improve to the degree it's no longer an obstruction?"

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We Invested 10% To Pay Back Tech Debt; Here's What Happened

- Alex Ewerlöf tl;dr: Alex discusses how "Tech Debt Friday" started at his org, what was learned and how it's executed: (1) We spend 10% of our time to deal with tech debt. (2) The first rule is not to create debt in the first place. (3) The PR that creates tech debt should come paired with the issue to deal with it. And more. 

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Addressing Tech Debt

- Abi Noda tl;dr: Abi discusses different types of tech debt, signs that tech debt is becoming a bottleneck, and strategies for addressing debt: (1) Transparent information: Technical strategy must be informed by information on signals e.g. business performance. (2) Clear end-to-end ownership. (3) Empowered teams. (4) Lightweight process: e.g. automated checks or architectural peer review to enforce policies and aid developers.

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Beautiful Technical Debt (2022)

- Rinat Abdullin tl;dr: “What looks like a technical debt in a software solution, might be the most efficient way for people to deliver business value in a given situation. There is a beauty in that, if observed from a distance.”

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How To Deal With Tech Debt At The Scale Of Super App

- Maksim Koutun tl;dr: "We want to share how we decided to work with technical debt and how Evolutionary architecture and SRE help us balance innovation and quality in mobile development." Maksim provides several examples, such as how each team can dedicate up to 20% of their capacity to technical improvements.

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Hunting Tech Debt Via Org Charts

- Marianne Bellotti tl;dr: "The types of problems organizations have are heavily influenced by their incentive structure." Marianne describes the types of problems you'll find in various org structures i.e. in engineering led orgs, orgs where engineering reports to product, or security, or in flat orgs. She concludes "the best organizations at managing technical debt tend to be the ones that have a thoughtful process in place to adjudicate competing incentives."

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On Exactitude in Technical Debt

- Kevlin Henney tl;dr: "Technical debt is not the cost of repaying the debt: it is the cost of owning the debt. These are not the same." It's also not necessarily a negative thing. Kevlin feels the metaphor is commonly misused.

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Tech Debt And The Pragmatic Middle Ground

- Gergely Orosz tl;dr: For startups, having enough tech debt is critical. Having "too little is premature optimization". In the early phase of a company, you want tech debt to be heavy, allowing for the company to move quickly. 

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Tech Debt Developer Survey Results 2020 - Impact on Retention

- Umer Mansoor tl;dr: Despite a small sample size, the survey is telling on the impact tech debt has on retention - 50% of developers are likely or very likely to leave their jobs because of debt.

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